Saturday, August 07, 2010

Notes from Juneau ... dispatches from Alaska

As friends continue their journey through Alaska, the latest dispatch arrived in my in-box about their travels in and about Juneau, the state's capital....

We got here last Friday and spotted a McDonald's right away. We hadn't had any sweet tea for 2 weeks -- HOT DANG, sweet tea in Juneau. I drank about half before taking a breath. Also hit the super WalMart for food supplies and incidentals -- thank you Juneau!

Juneau is a beautiful area, town of 30,000. With the state government, it's a working town with fishing and there is still a gold mine. We walked by the Capitol which was open for tours so we walked in -- no one at the security station -- so we found a lady in an office to inquire and she handed us a guided map to explore the building on our own. I asked about security. They are only on duty when legislature is in session. Every one up here is open door. Can't see that happening in our world. The Coast Guard have brought in a few boats this week for a big buoy competition and blood drive.

We rented a car for two days as there is a road that goes 40 miles out of town. It was so quiet and peaceful. We found a boat ramp -- we always have to check those out -- and saw four guys getting out of their boat, each carrying a big King crab, their dinner for the night. We drove up to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and saw many salmon making their beds after the long swim up stream. Also drove to the first Alaska road and took a 3 mile walk on a hiking path through old gold mines. We walked a lot of trails, all rain forest with many water falls from the snow melt. I wore my old worn-out sneakers as the trails are muddy and didn't want to ruin my good ones but now have shin splints so those old shoes will be left in Juneau.

We took a boat tour out to Sawyer Glacier and the captain let us sit for almost two hours watching the calving. You would hear a sound like a mortar going off and chunks bigger than a semi would crash into the water. It was awesome, crystal blue chunks. Lots of icebergs on the trip out.

We've had great weather here and love the area. We've been here so long we feel like natives -- we love Juneau. Now have to do laundry, repack and board the ferry tomorrow and head to Wrangell, so we'll see you there. Stay cool. WE ARE!!!


Bob K. said...

I'm loving reliving our trip to Alaska in 2007.

But on one issue I keep kicking myself. It was always my practice on visiting a new state to pick up the official state map... you know, the one with the Governor's picture on the back. I wish I'd sought one out when I was in Juneau.

...would have been a real collector's item.

Tom White said...

Mendenhall Glacier is an absolutely gorgeous place. I brought back some black and white speckled egg shaped rocks from one of my trips to Juneau. They are formed by the glacier moving over the soil and rolling it into an egg shape.

I installed the voting system in the House and Senate years ago and spent a lot of time there.

One of my haunts was the Red Dog Saloon. You really step back in time. The floor was covered in sawdust which was swept up and replaced during the hour per day they closed. (Like 6AM to 7AM.)

We were there for about a month doing the install and stayed in an efficiency, so I went down to the docks several times and bought crab and seafood from the boats for dinner.

I absolutely love Alaska! I would move there in a heartbeat, but my wife hates the cold!

Pictures??? We need pictures.

Lynn R. Mitchell said...

Bob and Tom, I know what you both mean about Alaska. It gets in your blood -- the openness, the lack of hoards of people, the casual laid-back style, the way they accept you. It is way different than the East Coast and I wouldn't mind living there during the summer when they have 24 hours of daylight. Nothing like touring around Anchorage in dusky daylight at 11 pm. It's somehow energizing to have that much sunlight in a day.

I've got photos to post so working on that and hope to have them up later.

Alaska ... even the folk music gets in your soul. I'm with you guys ... I love the place. Road trip? LOL.